It is estimated that approximately 15% of Australians are taking medication for a headache at any one time. While headaches can be a common symptom of a lot of things, physiotherapy can help with some of the causes.
1. Poor posture
Having a prolonged poor posture such as sitting, slumped in front of a computer all day can put strain on the muscles at the back or your head and very top of your neck. This can then lead to headaches. Physiotherapy can help you to adopt healthier postures, have posture breaks and work on stretches and strengthening around the top of your neck.
2. Bad pillow
Having good support for your neck overnight is very important. You sleep on average 8 hours per night. If you are waking with a stiff neck every morning, there is a good chance that you need a better pillow.
Get someone to look at you laying on your pillow in your preferred position. For a side sleeper the midline of your face should be parallel to the floor, if it is not then your pillow is either too high or too low depending on which way the midline is tilted. If you are a back sleeper then the profile of your face (minus your nose) should be parallel to the floor and again if too high or low will depend on the tilt of the profile.
It is also important that the pillow gives your neck support throughout the night. If you find yourself trying to bunch the pillow up under your neck during the night, then the pillow is not doing what it’s designed for.
3. Neck issues
Did you know that a headache that is stemming from your neck is called a cervicogenic headache? If you have ongoing neck issues that bothers you during the day or night, it could be the source of your headache. Getting your physiotherapist to treat your neck could resolve your headaches; they will give you stretches, exercises and self-release techniques to stop them coming back.
4. Jaw (TMJ) issues
A tight, clicking or painful jaw can also be a source of headaches. There are muscles all over your head and face with various functions. The tightness in these muscles can also cause headaches. Your physiotherapist can treat your TMJ and find out if it is the cause of your headaches.
The setup of your desk, whether it be at work or home is very important for the posture that you adopt. As many of us spend hours in front of a computer, having correct ergonomics is important. General rules are that the top third of your screen be at your eye level. You should sit with your feet on the floor or on a foot rest, with knees and hips approximately 90 deg. Your keyboard should be set at a height that your elbows are slightly greater than 90 deg. Along with the correct setup, taking regular postural breaks, will give your body a break as well.
Book an appointment
f you think that your headaches are from any of the above causes, please contact the team at Vitalis Physiotherapy on 0410 559 856 to book in an initial consultation.